Spatial design and control of graphene flake motion
AbstractThe force between a sharp scanning probe tip and a surface can drive a graphene flake over crystalline substrates. The recent design of particular patterns of structural defects on a graphene surface allows us to propose an alternative approach for controlling the motion of a graphene flake over a graphene substrate. The thermally induced motion of a graphene flake is controlled by engineering topological defects in the substrate. Such defect regions lead to an inhomogeneous energy landscape and are energetically unfavorable for the motion of the flake, and will invert and scatter graphene flakes when they are moving toward the defect line. Engineering the distribution of these energy barriers results in a controllable trajectory for the thermal motion of the flake without using any external force. We predict superlubricity of the graphene flake for motion along and between particular defect lines. This Rapid Communication provides insights into the frictional forces of interfaces and opens a route to the engineering of the stochastic motion of a graphene flake over any crystalline substrate.